Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Cinderella was retold by Cynthia Rylant and the pictures were by Mary Blair.  It was published by  Disney Press in 2007.

As of this post, Cinderella has been my favorite book that I have ready by Cynthia Rylant.  Not because it was a familiar story, but because she retold it with such beauty in the words and the pictures were illustrated to match.

This book did not have the typical "Once upon a time..." beginning. Instead, it begins, "This is a story about darkness and light, about sorrow and joy, about something lost and something found. This is a story about Love."  I believe this introduction set the tone for the entire book.  This version was much longer than most other versions of Cinderella that I have read.  She does not stick to the bare minimums of explaining the problem and how it was going to be solved.  Each page went in to great detail about what is happening in Cinderella's life, from when she was a little girl, to her step-mother moving in with her cold-hearted daughters, to the fairy showing up with the magic of Cinderella's tears, to Cinderella showing the glass slipper she kept, which allowed for her to finally find Love. 

I thought it was so important that Love was a capitalized word throughout the book. It allows for the reader to focus on the fact that Love is the most important thing.  No matter the relationship you are in, Love is needed, or it will fail. 

The illustrations in this version of Cinderella were just beautiful. The soft blur within the illustrations made it so that you could just fall into the story and pretend for just a few minutes, that your life could end in such a way, as long as you had Love in your life.  Most of the pictures had darkness in them, which was to symbolize the hardship that Cinderella had to go through.  Later in the book, afters she goes to the ball, I think that the dark shadows within the illustrations are there to remind the reader of Cinderella's past and that she overcame troubling times. The full bleed pages let the reader soak up the imagery  and detail within the illustration, and for me, allowed me to visit my childhood for a few minutes.  The pictures were so similar to the movie that I could imagine sitting in my mother's lap, watching the movie for the first time as a child. 

Many times, the colors of the illustration matched that of the page background on the page of text.  This allowed for my eyes to travel over both pages and connect the text with the illustrations. On the page opening where Prince Charming sees Cinderella for the first time, there was a perfect balance of detail and color to darkness. I could make out the prince and Cinderella, but the others were faceless.  The whiteness of the majority of the page was in bright contrast to the darkness behind Cinderella.  It allowed her to stand out for this new time in her life. 

I wish I had known about this version of Cinderella when I was in the classroom.  With the greater detail and full pictures, it would have been a great asset in the classroom to allow the students to compare this version with the fairy tales we were able to read. 

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